NATIONAL

Design industry empowers economies: Minister

P. S. Suryanarayana

SINGAPORE : As a three-day international conference on advertising, ADASIA 05, began here on Monday, , the design industry was identified by the Singapore Minister for Information, Communications, and the Arts, Lee Boon Yang, as a new economic frontier to conquer.

Speakers emphasised the importance of "vision" and "creative irreverence" in evolving strategies that could influence consumers and win markets.

Delegates from India constitute the largest country-contingent at this conference.

Delivering the opening speech, Dr. Lee said, "there is a burgeoning interest in how design [industry] elevates and empowers economies."

Noting that the "exponential growth" of China and India was ushering in "the next wave of Asian success," Dr. Lee said: "China already acknowledges that they need to go from "Made in China' to `Designed in China.'

He said advertising was a key aspect of the "image-making sector" of the designing activities, the others in this category being visual communications, packaging and fashion-design.

"Object-making"

Of the other aspects of this industry, "object-making" would cover product-and-industrial design, while "place-making" ranged from urban-design and architecture to interior-design and landscaping.

Initiating discussion on the theme of a "global vision" that could generate "Asian action" in the marketing arena, Hermawan Kartajaya, President of World Marketing Association, said the consumer should be wooed not only in terms of "the mind and heart but also the spirit".

On "irreverence" as an advertisement strategy, Tham Khai Meng, Co-Chairman of Ogilvy & Mather Asia Pacific, said "new ideas are like enemy soldiers storming into a person's mind." As new ideas would force re-thinking, an element of creative "irreverence" was essential to the art of advertising.

Spelling out some legal issues, including those relating to political sensitivities, in the realm of marketing, Douglas Wood, Chairman and Founder of Global Advertising Lawyers Alliance, suggested a "robust self-regulatory system." Michael Lee, Chairman and World President of the International Advertising Association, said the newspaper industry "has been hit hard by the migration of readers to electronic media." To succeed in such an environment, the traditional media "have to be offering a real editorial relevance and stake out an indispensable place in the hearts and minds of consumers."